Seattle’s Garfield High School won the Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition for an unprecedented fourth time Monday night at New York’s Lincoln Center, in what Edmonds-Woodway High School band director Jake Bergevin described as the highest level of competition ever, according to contest judges. Edmonds-Woodway was one of 15 high school bands chosen to participate in the competition, but did not place in the top three.
My Edmonds News community news partner The Seattle Times reported Monday night that the Garfield band played with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in Alice Tully Hall with other top-placing bands (Foxborough High School, from Foxborough, Mass., and Dillard Center for the Arts, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) before the winning school was announced. Garfield also won Essentially Ellington last year, in 2004 and in 2003, making it the most successful and consistent band in the competition, considered the most prestigious of its kind.
According to the Times, contest judges reported that they deliberated longer than they ever have and that the level of competition was never higher, Bergevin said.
“This is the best-prepared band I have ever brought,” said Bergevin, who remarked how much better the bands in the competition have become over the years. “I’ve done it several times so I know what to do, but everyone is in the same boat and it’s a lot of the same cast over and over… We did our best today with a lot of kids reaching down to bring their best to the table.”
Read the complete Seattle Times story here.